On 7th April, the CABC held its first fully-virtual Annual General Meeting during which we took stock of CABC’s accomplishments over the past year and discussed how the Canadian private and public sectors will continue to make strides in our trade relationship with ASEAN. Here are some of the takeaways:

1. The Canadian private sector continues to stand united in this challenging times

Over 60 CABC Members and partners joined our AGM from around the world. This growing Canada-ASEAN business community expressed strong support for CABC’s mission to grow the trading relationship between the two regions.

2. The ASEAN region remains to be a priority for Canada’s trade diversification
At the meeting, we had the pleasure of welcoming a few special guests from Global Affairs Canada for an honest exchange with the Canadian private sector. They include:

  • Canada’s Assistant Deputy Minister, Asia Pacific, Mr. Paul Thoppil
  • Director General for Trade Policy and Negotiations, Ms. Kendal Hembroff
  • Canada’s Ambassador to China, H.E. Ambassador Dominic Barton
  • Canada’s Ambassador to ASEAN, H.E. Ambassador Diedrah Kelly
A clear and encouraging message we took away was that despite the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada wants to continue to engage the ASEAN region through trade and support for free trade and multilateral trade agreements.

3. Canadian businesses need to have a stronger presence in Southeast Asia

To ensure long-term profitability for Canadian businesses, Canada needs to be more significant in Asia where the future economic growth is coming from. Canadian businesses are strongly encouraged to consider entering into ASEAN markets when they enter the Asia-Pacific region – this helps to diversify risk and avoid over-reliance rely on one single market